Visitor Questions on the Fall & Evil
A visitor recently wrote to ask the following:
I have to say that I think you made a really good argument against the Amyraldistic point of view. But I have a question about the fall. If Adam and Eve were sinless and had an unstained "free-will" then why would they fall? If they had a "free-will" [i.e. free from bondage to sin] and then fell, it would only go against the Calvinistic teachings of "Perserverance of the Saints."
Not sure what "perseverance of the saints" has to do with this? But consider that Adam, when created, was not originally sealed in righteousness. He was given a trial period which would reveal how he would use his will and he failed as the federal head of us all. Theologians call this biblical concept of Adam's trial period the "covenant of works", which lingers with us to this day. Like Jesus said to the rich young ruler, "obey the commandments and live"...i.e. if anyone could obey the commandments perfectly they would not need a savior, correct?
God created Adam and gave him a time period to fulfil His Law. He did not create him already sealed in righteounsss. Jesus likewise, though in very nature God, as a human being he had to "fulfill all righteousness" and "fulfill the law" from our side in order to save us. His sinless "passive" death alone does not save us (though that is part of it) but we are redeemed also because he positively fulfilled God's covenant obligations toward us. Likewise we believe Adam had to fulfil a positive righteousness if he were to have gained life.
Next the visitor asked the following:
Why does evil exist? It can't exist unless you place its beginnings in the hands of a "free-will."The only way that you can use Platonic logic and make it work is if you make God the creator of sin. In fact, you would have to do that, or else the logic would be considered "invalid." The only way it could be valid (under supralapsarianism) is if we would call God the sinner. We had to affirm the antecedent (God) in order to be able to affirm the consequent (evil). Though when we did that it only said that because of God's existence evil exists. That would solely make Him evil's creator.
I see a couple of problems. We must first remember to find all our highest presuppositions for logic in the Word of God, not unaided human reasoning only.
You seem to be asking, "did God ordain the fall?" Well, of course He did. Otherwise we would be forced to reach the absurd conclusion that something could take God by surprise. If "chance" exists then there is something out there outside God's ability, sovereignty and authority. If this were the case then we cannot be certain of God's promises for if he let evil into the world unwittingly (by mistake) and without knowing it would happen, how can we be certain chance won't win in the end as well.
Did Adam have a free will? Yes it was free from the bondage and corruption of nature, but it was not free to thwart the divine decree that man would fall .... a choice which brought bondage to the human family. Against his better judgment and good inclinations, he chose to rebel against God. But God ordained the Fall just as everything else, but not through coercion. Both superlapsarians and infralapsarians must both admit this. Even if God allowed the fall "passively", that is still part of His decree and providence and so this was His original intent and it could not have been otherwise. Neither position can escape this. Even Arminianism cannot escape this because God had perfect foreknowledge even prior to creation so He could just have easily have chosen not to allow the Fall by never creating such persons. So, even in the Arminian scheme, the Fall still was within his providence and nothing could have changed that. You seem to be worried that God ordaining evil would make him culpable but consider Acts 2-4 where God ordains EVIL events to come to pass but He remains blameless while only those He ordains to commit the acts are culpable:
"this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." Acts 2:24
"for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place." Acts 4:27-28
Also consider 2 Samuel 16:11 when someone is cursing David. David responds by saying: "Let him alone, for God hath bidden him."
And again, Jesus, in John 19:11 says to he who tries him: "thou couldst have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above."
Jesus is here teaching that God gives him the power to commit this horrible act, and the former passages that He predestined these acts to come to pass. These passages teach that God ordained that evil men would crucify His Son. This was the most unjust, evil event in history, and yet God used it to bring about glory to Himself. i.e. He uses sin, sinlessly.
SInce the Bible teaches both that God ordains all events and that He remains blameless we must hold this as our presupposition. This is truth even if you can't get your mind around it. To think otherwise is to give authority to something other than Scripture, be it unaided reason or your feelings. If you try to assert that God does not ordain any evil, how do you explain the texts which plainly state that He does. Also if you try to claim that for God to ordain evil, He must be evil Himself, the Bible once again contradicts this assertion.